Maya Vector Render to Illustrator
The Vector Render plugin for Maya only supports the Maya Base shaders. So you can only use Lambert for diffuse materials and Blinn or Phong for reflective materials. You can't use Mental Ray shaders, such as the MIA material.
Exporting the vector data to Illustrator is done by rendering using the following settings:
- You can find where Maya will save your AI file at the top of the tab.
- Set the Image Format to Adobe Illustrator.
- Make sure you select name.ext (Single Frame) to get the proper filename.
- Enter a File Name Prefix
If you don't change the File Name Prefix for successive renders, the previous version of the file will be overwritten.
Maya Vector Tab
If you want to have shadows, read the section Combining bitmap images with Vector images below.
You can render both fills and edges into vector format. Not all Fill options are available when rendering to Vector format. It's recommended to render edges and fills separately for optimal flexibility in Illustrator. You can combine the in Illustrator.
Opening the file in Illustrator
You will find the Adobe Illustrator (.ai) file in the location displayed at the top of the Common tab of the Render Settings. You can open that file directly using Illustrator, but it's recommended to copy it to another location (outside the Maya Project path) first.
You can copy-paste the vector data from this AI file into any Illustrator File. The vector data is stored into a compound path. You may want to separate it into single objects. This can be achieved by selecting the Compound Path; the easiest way to do this is in your layer manager. Then RMB click on the compound path object and choose Release Compound Path.
Combining bitmap images with vector images
Rendering to vector format doesn't support shadows, reflections etc. If you want shadows, highlights or reflections, you need to use a bitmap format. You can open bitmaps in Illustrator and place vector data on top of it in another layer. In this way you can combine the flexibility and quality of vector data and the effects and realism offered by bitmaps. Combining Mental Ray renders and Vector data can yield great results.
Use View > Smart Guides to scale your vector objects to the same size as your bitmap image and to place the vector on the exact same location as the bitmap image.